One on One with Civil Rights Icon Julian Bond

A discussion about his career, modern civil rights and the south’s sordid history of prejudice.

By Alain StephensFebruary 9, 2015 10:51 am

If you take a look at the news today, it’s hard to argue that America is post-racial. The truth is, the road to civil rights is a long and winding one that is deeply rooted in American history.

Julian Bond began his career organizing protests and sit-ins in the Jim Crow south. Since then, he’s worn a variety of hats in his long-standing struggle for civil rights.

On How Bond Began His Civil Rights Career:

“Someone came up to me at a college café and showed me a newspaper about the Greensboro sit-ins and said ‘What about this? What do you think about this? Shouldn’t we do this here?’… and we did it.”

On Lyndon B. Johnson’s Depiction in The Film Selma:

“I think he’s badly treated in this movie. He’s made out to be a bad guy and, on this issue, he cannot ever been said to be a bad guy. LBJ was the best civil rights president we’ve ever had in this country. There are probably many things he could’ve done better, but he did this better than any other president before him.”

On The LGBT Community Making a Home in The South:

“It does seem to lag behind the rest of the nation, but it’s a forgiving section of the country. People are open hearted and warm hearted in the south. I wouldn’t be surprised if the movement for gay marriage … didn’t pick up steam a little quicker in the future then it has done in the past.”

On His Most Impactful Role as a Civil Rights Activist:

“The time I thought I was getting the most done was when I worked for the student non-violent coordinating committee… those were the years I felt I was successful in the greatest amount of change.”

On What Civil Rights Issue He’d Focus On Today:

“I’d try to find some way to focus on housing segregation. I think that’s one of the most un-won portions of the civil rights agenda that we haven’t paid as much attention to as we should have… What that means is that some people are locked away from the best schools, best jobs… because the color of their skin.”

On The Current Migration of African Americans to The South:

“I think they’re offering a kind of welcomeness, a kind of good feeling. ‘We’re open to you, we’re going to treat you well.’ You wont find everybody in every city feeling that way, but I think more and more you will find increasing numbers of people saying ‘come on down brother, we’d like to have you here.'”